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Lake Erie Information
About Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the southernmost and shallowest of the five Great Lakes in North America. The body of water is bound by Ontario, Canada to the north, and Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan to the south, east and west. Despite the volatile nature of the water, Lake Erie is a consistent source of attraction for its abundance of recreation, vibrant scenery, history and surrounding islands. Valued as both a coastal retreat and a bustling thoroughfare for maritime travelers, Lake Erie is a prominent and indispensable feature of the Great Lakes region. Also, be sure to check out our Lake Erie Vacation Rental Spots guide, and our Lake Erie Family Activities guide.
Things to do in Lake Erie
Diving in Lake Erie is particularly popular as a result of so many shipwrecks and underwater sites for exploration. With about 270 “confirmed” shipwreck locations, and an estimated 1,400 to 8,000 total, the water is rife with undiscovered history and treasures. Beginners and advanced divers alike can take to the waters of Lake Erie with tour companies that offer everything from lessons to equipment to tips for an optimal diving excursion. The water is also suitable for fishing and boating, as well as water sports such as jet skiing and kayaking. The miles of shoreline along Lake Erie’s shore is a big draw for resort-town vacationers. Cedar Point Amusement Park and the Merry-Go-Round Museum are hotspots for families with children. For history buffs, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is a bigger draw, as the oldest Lake Erie lighthouse in operation. Nature lovers may find the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge or the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area more to their liking.
Day trips from Lake Erie
Lake Erie islands are a must-see for visitors to the area. Pelee Island, the largest of the Lake Erie islands, has a unique ecosystem that’s ideal for wildlife watching. South Bass Island attracts young crowds, and has been described on more than one occasion as “party island.” Kelleys Island is quieter, with nature-based activities taking the spotlight. The cities neighboring Lake Erie are also opportune day trip destinations, especially for culture, arts and entertainment. Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, is known as “Motor City” for its ties to the automotive industry. But, cars aren’t the only driving force behind Detroit’s booming tourism industry. There’s much to explore here, from history at the Detroit Historical Museum, to music at the Motown Museum, not to mention the three casinos and numerous entertainment venues in the city. Cleveland, Ohio is another mega city located well within Lake Erie’s vicinity. Popular attractions include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, West Side Market, the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Museum of Art. Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania is another city on the lake’s shoreline. More than four million people head to the city during the summer for its attractions including Waldameer Park, an indoor water park; Presque Isle State Park; and Presque Isle Downs, a casino and horse racing track. In the New York region, the Niagara River where Lake Erie channels into Lake Ontario is a must see. The Niagara Falls is a sight well worth a trip, for its sheer majesty and scenic beauty.
Lake Erie accommodations
Lake Erie’s shoreline is abundant with accommodation options. One, two and even three-bedroom condos are perfect for any occasion, for travelers on a solo trip or family vacations. Lodging options at campgrounds include cottages, motels, RV parks with full hook up in addition to sites where old school campers can pitch tents and sleep under the stars. Value inns and motels provide affordable alternatives to hotels; most provide “on the house” breakfasts and services including wireless internet. Retreat or conference centers may be ideal for larger parties, especially groups that need a regular meeting place. Area bed and breakfasts range from historic to romantic, perfect for a couple’s getaway or a solo retreat.
Transportation in Lake Erie
Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority operates buses, lifts and trolleys throughout Erie, Pennsylvania and the greater area. Buses operate every day except for major national holidays at a base fare of $1.45. The “e” lift is a ride-sharing service for residents outside the Erie County area who live beyond bus routes or unable to utilize bus services. An application is required to use this low-fare service. The BayLiner trolley runs along State Street, from the bayfront to 14th Street, and is completely free of charge. In the state of Michigan, Lake Erie Transit provides eight fixed routes around Monroe County at a dollar base far for adults. Buses operate Monday through Friday from 6:35 a.m. to 5:35 p.m. and Saturday from 9:35 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. LakeTran services Lake County, Ohio, with buses that run along fixed routes Monday through Saturday. LakeTran routes one through six operate along major corridors in the county, with stops at 1/4-mile intervals. Service is hourly Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service runs every two ours between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays. In addition to public bus service routes throughout the greater Lake Erie area, Amtrak offers service connecting Cleveland, Erie, and Buffalo to major cities including New York and Boston. There are also taxis, cars for rent, ride hailing services and charter buses available for booking.